Kirklees Priory Plan

According to the legend, Robin goes to Kyrkesly (identified as Kirklees Priory in Yorkshire) to be bled by his relative the prioress, unaware that she and her lover (Syr Roger of Donkestere in the Gest, or Red Roger in Robin Hoode his Death) are planning his demise (see The Early Ballads). The possible layout of Kirklees Priory is presented below, using an enlargement of area B of  The Prospect of Kirkleys Abby, attributed to Nathaniel Johnston (c. 1665), and the Plan of Excavations by John Bilson (1904-5). This can best be described as an attempt to show that Johnston’s drawing is a reasonable picture of what he saw. According to Johnston, the Prospect was drawn ‘from the Footway leading to Heartishead Church, at a quarter of a mile distance’, and area B is described as ‘The Gatehouse of the Nunnery’. David Hepworth has suggested that the turreted buildings in the location of the old priory (area B of the drawing), were not standing even in Johnston’s day, and so must be a conjectural reconstruction. S.J.Chadwick thought that the building described as the gatehouse is a mistake, and the so called Gateway is more likely to have been the hall, parlour and prioress’s chamber. Given the uncertainty, there appears to be reasonable correlation between the eastern view of the Prospect and Plan of Excavation. I leave it for the reader to decide. 

For more information see Robin Hood’s Grave.